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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
Delhi Queer Pride
Section One
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Delhi Queer Pride

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

India's first Pride Parade since Gay sex was recriminalized by the country's Supreme Court went off without a hitch on November 30.

Reuters news service reported hundreds of people marching through New Delhi, India's capital, in the seventh Delhi Queer Pride Parade.

'We are making a statement that we exist. We are not a minuscule minority. Deal with it,' said Mohnish Kabir Malhotra, one of the organizers of this year's event.

Marchers chanted 'Azaadi!' (Freedom!), and shouted 'I'm Gay and that's OK!' The crowd was festooned with multi-colored balloons, masquerade masks, wigs, and a huge rainbow flag.

According to Reuters, some of the biggest cheers at the parade went to Dora, a St. Bernard dressed in a T-shirt promoting LGBT rights, brought by her owner who works at the U.S. embassy.

One year ago India's Supreme Court threw out a 2009 ruling by a lower court that decriminalized Gay sex, in a ruling that said only the country's parliament could repeal Section 377 of India's penal code, which bans sex 'against the order of nature.'

The law, which dates from colonial-era British India, is interpreted to ban Gay sex. Penalties can be as much as 10 years in prison.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected earlier this year, is the leader of the right-wing nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), and has made anti-Gay remarks in the past.

A poster at the parade depicted Modi's face in rainbow colors, with the caption 'I love Amit Shah,' referring to the president of Modi's political party, BJP.

Some participants said the prime minister did not mean the Gay community any harm.

'Modi is a very wise person. I don't know whether he'll support or not support, but he's not going to do anything which is going to harm any Indian citizen's right,' said Rudrani Chettri, a social worker and LGBT activist.

Bystanders said they had no problem with the LGBT community.

'As long as it's consensual, it should not matter to anyone,' auto-rickshaw driver Kapil Yadav told Reuters. 'They shouldn't force themselves on anyone.'

Yadav was one of the drivers temporarily brought to a stop as the parade passed through downtown New Delhi.

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